AVA, NY - What was supposed to be an informational meeting between the Town of Ava Planning Board and an organization called the Black Women's Blueprint soon turned into something much larger Wednesday.
At issue, a proposed family and women's healing center called Restore Forward that will sit on a 300-acre site off Webster Hill Road in Ava.
Many residents showed up at the town hall to learn more about the project. So many in fact that due to COVID-19 restrictions the presentation had to be moved outside to the parking lot to safely accommodate everyone.
A large number in attendance commented that they had just found out about the project in recent days and had concerns about what they heard was being planned for the site. One resident said she heard that “the facility will house women who have experienced domestic violence against them." Another said that they heard that “it was incarcerated women who were coming up here."
"It is for everyone who needs healing and to restore themselves,” said Black Women’s Blueprint co-founder, Farah Tanis. “If you happen to be a battered woman or a battered man, that's you. You need to restore yourself. You need to heal. This place is open to you."
Planning Board Chairman Justin Bator shut down the meeting due to the potentially volatile nature of the situation.
The town is looking into holding another informative meeting at a facility that could hold more people at a future date.
To read the full Restore Forward proposal, click here.